“My father (Santosh) was unemployed until last year before he got a job as a watchman in Dadar. We survived on whatever my grandmother earned from selling fish. That’s the reason I was never sent to school.
I didn’t even know what a school looked like, until June last year,” Rajesh told MiD DAY yesterday, after Al-Barkaat, who posted 444-8 in their first innings, bowled out their opponents for 164 and then reduced them to 14-2 as they followed on.
Rajesh, a Govandi resident, was spotted while playing cricket across in the maidans in his area, by coach Digambar Pardale, who took him to Al-Barkaat coach Nafees Khan for admission into the school with a promise that he would play cricket for them.
“Nafees saw him play and agreed to talk to the school authorities, who agreed to admit him on a condition that he be separately tutored before being enrolled into Class V,” explained Pardale.
And the left-arm-spinner has lived up to the school’s expectations. He has chipped in consistently with a wicket or two in each of Al-Barkaat’s league matches before yesterday’s significant four-for. “People called me chuha (rat) as my family survived on leftovers. Earlier, I used to feel bad, but now I am proud that this rat can eat up the opposition,” Rajesh signed off.
Brief scores: Al-Barkaat MMI (Kurla) 444-8 vs IES VN Sule Guruji (Dadar) 164 (Rajesh Sardar 4-43, Shabaz Qureshi
3-23) & 14-2.